SAN ANTONIO — The latest surge in coronavirus cases forced San Antonio to pump the brakes on its official Martin Luther King Jr. Day march, the biggest event of its kind in the country, for the second year in a row.
But even with an in-person march canceled, leaders with the San Antonio MLK Jr. Commission said there are other ways for the community to mark the occasion and legacy of the civil rights icon.
It began with a kickoff news conference at 9:30 a.m. Monday at Pittman-Sullivan Park. Mayor Ron Nirenberg, District 2 City Councilmember Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, Metro Health Director Claude Jacob and the virtual march's keynote speaker, activist Crystal Mason all spoke. The virtual event began at 10 a.m. and runs through 3 p.m. You can watch it here.
The city is also encouraging those who are actively commemorating King on Monday to share pictures on social media with the hashtag #MLKDaySA.
Commission officials encouraged residents to find and take part in local service projects unfolding in the Alamo City and Bexar County at large, so long as they're conducted safely and in small groups.
Revisit a previous march in virtual form
As with last year, San Antonians will have the chance to watch a film about the city's MLK Day March if they tune in to TVSA from 10 a.m. to noon on Monday.
Last year's movie, "Dream: Rising Up for Justice," was created by south Texas filmmaker Ya'ke Smith and was designed to follow the march's route while showcasing interviews from local leaders and community representatives. The same film has been built upon to address the issues of voting rights and the continuing pandemic.
Instead of serving as the headquarters location for this year's now-canceled march, the east side's Pittman-Sullivan Park will play host to a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for San Antonio residents who still need to be immunized. Stop by from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The pandemic has also depleted the supply at blood banks in San Antonio and across the U.S. So community members are also encouraged to donate at the Dr. Charles Drew Mobile Blood Drive, also scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the park.
MLK Jr. award winners announced
This year's winners of three community honors – the Martin Luther King Jr. Distinguished Achievement award, the Reverend Dr. R.A. Callies Sr. Courage award and the Baha'i Unity of Humanity award – will be announced via the commission's website.
More events have been pushed to April in light of the march's cancellation, including the MLK Youth Summit, now scheduled for April 2, and the annual wreath-laying ceremony, now scheduled for April 3, the day before the anniversary of King's assassination in 1968.